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Home > About NOVA > Emergency Preparedness > Campus Emergency Procedures > Procedures > Alert Notification Systems

Alert Notification Systems

In the event of an emergency you may be notified by various means depending on the emergency.

Ways you may be notified:

  • Text Messaging Service (NOVA Alert)
  • Fire Alarm (Strobes)
  • Phones (classrooms and offices)
  • Computer Pop-Ups (networked computers)
  • Public Address System Announcements (where available)
  • Digital Flat Panels

Text Messaging Service (NOVA Alert)

This commercial service allows members of the campus community to receive emergency notifications from the College. Alerts can easily be sent out from any location as a text message to cell phones, pagers, or to any email address where the person wants to receive them.

The NOVA community is strongly encouraged to go to and follow the registration instructions to register for this important text messaging service.

NOVA Desktop Computer Alert (Pop-Ups)

The College is able to send an emergency alert to every computer connected to the College computer network. This will allow emergency messages to be sent to classrooms where the instructor is using the computer during class to all the students in computer labs, and to all the staff in their offices.

Automated or Live Broadcast Calls to Campus

Emergency messages can be broadcast directly into any IP phone on a campus and emergency calls can be made from phones that have been installed college wide. The activation of this system can be local (campus) or central.

Digital Signage

Emergency messages can be displayed on flat panel screens that have been strategically located on each campus. The messages can be locally or centrally controlled. This will allow messages to be displayed in common areas i.e., hallways, eating areas, etc.

College Email

During emergencies, email can be sent to all faculty and staff, all adjuncts, and all students. Separate distribution lists are also maintained for each campus.

NOVA Website

Emergency messages can be put on the NOVA Website quickly from any location. There is an alert at the top of the page that appears when an emergency message is posted under "Important Information." The large picture can be changed to allow text in case additional information is so urgent that it needs to appear on the home page.

NOVA Access

A message is posted to NOVA's Facebook and Twitter sites.

NOVA Mobile Site

A message is posted to college mobile website.


Emergency messages can be put on the college’s Cable-TV channel from remote locations. The NOVA Channel appears on the Cox and Comcast systems in Fairfax County and Alexandria and on Verizon FiOS 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. It is available in the other jurisdictions on a more limited daily schedule.

Campus Highway Radios

Low-power radios were installed on all six campuses that can deliver a signal over 1630 MHz to AM radios within 2-3 miles of the campus. Each campus radio can be programmed independently. The primary purpose of these radios is to deliver information to visitors as they approach the campus.

However, emergency messages can be recorded and set to play from any telephone. Signs are in place that let the public know about the system on roads approaching the campuses. These signs do not have flashing lights to indicate an emergency message since that capability on the highways is reserved for the local jurisdictions.

Emergency Warning Alert System (EWAS)

This system serves as a public address tool in the event of certain emergencies. Speakers are located internally throughout the campus so that emergency information can broadcast. The EWAS is not available on all campuses.

Local News Media

The College Public Information Office sends press releases and makes calls to contacts on a local media list. Because of the transient nature of its population, the College depends a great deal on broadcast media to notify students, faculty members, and staff members of emergencies before or during their commutes.


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